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From the EditorsInvest in Your People Even with a Small Learning Budget

Some organizations aren’t blessed with deep pockets for learning and development, but this vital work can still happen.

Whether it’s a nonprofit, start-up, small business or a large enterprise, no organization can afford to skip on learning and development for its people. But budget can be an issue. In a March Forbes article, leadership development professional Rebecca Zucker offered 10 ways companies can develop people with little to no learning and development budget.

In addition to being a performance driver, learning and development is a key employee engagement tool. “In other words, your people need to feel like they’re learning and growing — or they will leave,” Zucker wrote. Providing learning and development can help drive retention, too.

Zucker, a partner at leadership development firm Next Step Partners, wrote that action learning projects, mentoring, job rotations and stretch assignments are low-cost ways to invest in employees’ professional growth. She also wrote that learning leaders may want to add to their toolbox:

Encourage employees to seek out non-profit board positions. When employees hold board positions, they have the opportunity to build their skills and confidence, and they can expand their professional network.

Create learning circles. Bring employees together who share an interest in learning more about a specific topic. These individuals can be connected digitally via an online group, by email or in-person at a brown bag lunch meeting or book club, Zucker wrote.

Don’t forget project post-mortems. There’s value in taking time to reflect and review. Managers should take time to review how projects went with their team. As the team discusses what went well, what didn’t and what could be done differently in the future, employees learn about their own work as well as their teammates.

Gallup’s 2017 “State of the American Workplace” report found that more than one in three employees have changed in jobs in the past three years — with 91 percent of them leaving their company to do so. Organizations need to figure out what will keep employees from leaving, wrote authors of the March Gallup article, “What Star Employees Want.” Businesses should take a look at the value proposition they’re offering, and learning and development opportunities must be part of it even if all the dollars aren’t there to support it.

Bravetta Hassell is a Chief Learning Officer associate editor. Comment below, or email editor@CLOmedia.com.    

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